Do Angelfish Change Color?

You might be wondering why Angelfish change looks and colors like in some way they look pale and sometimes they have very vibrant colors. Angelfish has long been a staple when it comes to aquarium pets due to their elegance and graceful movements. And with the new varieties consistently becoming attainable, they can be quite the house pet you might be looking for.

Do angelfish change color? Yes, angelfish can change color due to to the melanosomes present in their skin’s dermis. When they are under deep stress or just asleep, their color tend to fade. But when their owner adequately nourishes them, you can see some vibrant colors.

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In this article, you will learn about how an angelfish color changes and what causes it.

The Science Behind Their Transformation

Angelfish’s ability to change colors relies on the production of melanosomes and melanin. Melanosomes are responsible for the synthesis of melanin and melanin is a substance that absorbs light.

Melanosomes control the overall colors of the angelfish, and this is by controlling the movements and storage of melanin. When this particular stripe fades, it means that the melanosomes have been distributed in over to the melanophores. The further it spread, the lighter the bars become, and it can disappear quickly.

The Cause Of Color Change

There are various reasons why angelfish changes its color. And those are:

Fear & Stress

The stripes found in the angelfish serve a purpose not just for vanity. It helps them to camouflage if there’s a predator nearby. With that being said, the colors of their skin may change if there are frightened. Sometimes, they lie flat at the bottom to play dead and change its color to pale color.

Stress isn’t good for them as well as most fish are. Especially when you bought your angelfish from a pet store, you might recognize that they didn’t look the same when you purchased them. The transfer from one living environment to another can be jarring and stressful for them hence the change of color.

Hierarchy Establishment

If you have multiple angelfish in your aquarium, you might notice that some smaller ones change color from time to time when they encounter the larger ones. It is an issue of dominance. The smaller ones are giving respect and a healthy amount of deference to their larger counterparts.

Food & Diet

Food is essential, especially with aquatic fishes, since they cannot look for some prey by themselves. A poor diet can affect the overall color of your angelfish. Experts recommend flakes and pellets because it contains the nutrients that they need to survive.

The goal is to add a boost in their nutrient intake so they can have the perfect healthy body, and it will show in the color of their skin.


In conclusion, angelfish undergoing color changes isn’t a unique phenomenon. It is very natural and sometimes it gives you an idea of what is happening to them. If their food intake, pH level, and water temperature are good, there is nothing to worry about it. Take advantage of this coloration changes because it can give you a sign if your fish is healthy or not.